Consider our passage today in Leviticus. He who is holy calls his people to be holy, like Father like child, a set apartness of and for God. What follows is a less succinct almost lyrical expansion of the Ten Commandments, an elaboration on what it means to love God and examples of what it looks like to love our neighbor. For example, it may surprise us to find that despite the thousands of years that separate us from ancient Israel, how Israel is commanded to love their neighbor is remarkably relevant for us today. So, if I too may summarize, loving our neighbor means loving generously, honestly, equitably, justly, and reasonably.
We need it for salvation. We need it for forgiveness. We need it to live out this faith we have been given. We need it every day. Our flesh will point us back to law, remind us our failures, relish in our disobedience, shackle us to our efforts. The gospel of God’s grace points us to Christ, reminds us of his sufferings, shows us his perfect obedience, and empowers us to live for him. Our flesh may lie that we are condemned by the law, but the gospel truth is: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1).
Jesus’ betrayal, arrest, trial, and conviction were done in the dark, both literally and figuratively. He who was sent in love and came in truth encountered neither on that dark night. He was betrayed with a kiss, arrested without cause, tried on false testimony, convicted though innocent. Yet, everything that happened to him on that night, including Peter’s denial, was presented as truth. The entire evening was Satanically staged to have the appearance of truth. The fallen angel of light is an expert at this.
The purpose of a testimony is to tell the truth, and Jesus tells it. And they hate it. They hate him. Ripping their clothes, they rage at his supposed blasphemy. And yet, false testimony and mendacious rhetoric is not transformed into truth by showmanship and shouting. You can’t shout the truth into existence, but you can convince those who hear what they want to hear. The verdict is unanimous: “He deserves death.”
How does the truth of God’s Word set us free? Consider this: It is through God’s Word that we know the gospel of Jesus Christ. For example, God’s Word reveals the truth that we are sinners by nature and evidenced by thought, word, and deed (Rom. 3:23).
God’s goodness to you includes his empowering presence to make you more like Jesus. That is indeed the good that every Christian wants, walking by the Spirit.
When Christians realize that their citizenship is in heaven, they begin acting as responsible citizens of earth. They invest wisely in relationships because they know they’re eternal.
Stories are indeed powerful, as we see in this simple parable. But more powerful than a parable is the reality of Christ’s presence within all who believe.
Through faith in Christ, Jew and Gentile alike are united into one holy temple, built living stone upon living stone. And it is in Christ alone that we are “built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit” (Eph. 2:14-22).
From day to day, our faith and obedience is fickle. Yet, he who is compassionate and merciful continues to teach us and lead us in truth, by the Spirit of truth.